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Mainstream Media: Politicizing a Tragic 44th Death


It is tragic…and I am not even talking about the tragic death of Nur Salina Saparedi who was run over by a trailer on Monday while crossing the highway to get to her school. I am talking about the shallow reporting by TV3 and the publicity by members of a political party. Image source: The Star

I have been watching the TV3 for last couple of days and I am surprised to note that the TV3 reporter failed to mention or follow up on 2 key issues. She like others keeps talking about the heavy vehicle and how to stop them from using the Shapadu Highway. If I were her, I would have asked on the 2 main issues:-

1. Grilled Shapadu and the local authority for failing to build an overhead bridge;
2. Interviewed and talked to the lorry drivers themselves on the situation and why they are not keen in using the alternative highway.

Bad news sells and mainstream media like TV3 seems to have used Nur Salina Saparedi’s tragic death as their next selling item. So much so that the Deputy Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said the stations had reached a point where they disregarded concern for political stability, public order and government priorities. [see TV stations under fire for not practising proper ethics]

Nur Salina was the 44th victim of the deadly stretch and surprisingly both Shapadu or the local authority had not bothered to erect an overhead bridge.

Is this a case of things falling into deaf ears? It should have rung a bell when Khairy Jamaluddin of UMNO had a difficult time to cross the road. As usual (being a typical Malaysians) after a tragic death, the politicians jumps into the limelight and start talking about actions to be taken. They will meet the victim or the victim’s family so that they will be in the TV or the newspaper.

The latest is the direction from the Works Minister who instructed LLM to put the necessary measures in place to prevent more accidents from occurring along the Kapar stretch of the Shapadu Highway. Only now they want to do an immediate installation of a fence stretching for 250m from the school gate along both sides of the road and a traffic light in front of the school.

Building of a pedestrian bridge and road bumps, installation of overhead traffic lights as well as putting up a large signboard to warn motorists of the school’s presence in the vicinity. Only after 44 people had died on the stretch. Disappointing and reckless indeed.

Damn, the residents have been asking for these measures for the last 10 years!

Where was TV3 at this time? Why they did not suggested all this when they were busy pushing the blame on the lorry drivers? If they have focused on these issues, the rest of the local authorities and highway concessionaires would have taken note and probably taken action to rectify problems at their end which may save lives.

Instead, TV3 opted to publicize the lorry drivers as being at fault. Since the focus have moved to the lorry drivers (as the scapegoat), I am pretty sure that local authorities and highway concessionaires will tend to sweep problems under the carpet until the next tragic death.

Oh yes, what about the lorry drivers side of the story? Forget about the Indonesian who is out on police bail. While all sides are telling that the lorry drivers should use the new highway, why then the lorry drivers are still using the Shapadu Highway?

Is there a problem behind it? I have not seen any interview with the lorry drivers to get to the underlying reason. This results in a one-sided reporting. It is bias to paint the lorry drivers as the aggressors.

Reporting means getting both sides of the story and highlight the faults to ensure reforms are made for benefit of the people. Perhaps, this is why I don’t watch mainstream news that often.

Another tragic news indeed…

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